Iran’s Rouhani rules out changes to nuclear deal

Iran’s Rouhani rules out changes to nuclear deal
Trump withdrew the US from the JCPOA and imposed crippling sanctions on Iran in 2018, maintaining a policy of “maximum pressure” against the Islamic republic. (File/AFP)
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Updated 03 February 2021

Iran’s Rouhani rules out changes to nuclear deal

Iran’s Rouhani rules out changes to nuclear deal
  • Iran’s regional arch rival, Saudi Arabia, has also called for a role in any future talks on the agreement
  • Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif asked the European Union to coordinate a synchronized return of both Washington and Tehran to the deal

TEHRAN: President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday ruled out changes to Iran’s nuclear accord with world powers and dismissed calls to broaden the terms of the deal and include regional countries.
US President Joe Biden has voiced support for returning to the accord, from which Donald Trump exited, but has insisted that Tehran first resume full compliance and consider expanding the deal beyond the nuclear issue.
Iran’s regional arch rival, Saudi Arabia, has also called for a role in any future talks on the agreement.
“No clause of the JCPOA will change. Know this. And no one will be added to the JCPOA,” Rouhani said at a televised cabinet meeting, using the deal’s official name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
“This is the agreement. If they want it, everyone come into compliance. If they don’t, they can go live their lives,” he said.
Trump withdrew the US from the JCPOA and imposed crippling sanctions on Iran in 2018, maintaining a policy of “maximum pressure” against the Islamic republic.
Iran a year later responded by gradually suspending its compliance with most of its key nuclear commitments in the deal, under which it was promised economic relief for limits on its nuclear program.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Monday asked the European Union to coordinate a synchronized return of both Washington and Tehran to the deal, following a diplomatic standoff on who will act first.
Zarif said that EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell should play a role in his capacity of coordinator of the 2015 agreement, which also included Britain, France and Germany as well as Russia and China.
But the US State Department spokesman Ned Price said it was still too early to accept such a proposal, repeating calls on Tehran to return to compliance first.

Soleimani’s shadow
Qassem Soleimani left a trail of death and destruction in his wake as head of Iran’s Quds Force … until his assassination on Jan. 3, 2020. Yet still, his legacy of murderous interference continues to haunt the region

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US appreciates Kuwait’s support for mutual return to compliance with Iran nuclear agreement: Blinken

US appreciates Kuwait’s support for mutual return to compliance with Iran nuclear agreement: Blinken
Updated 10 sec ago

US appreciates Kuwait’s support for mutual return to compliance with Iran nuclear agreement: Blinken

US appreciates Kuwait’s support for mutual return to compliance with Iran nuclear agreement: Blinken

LONDON: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US appreciates Kuwait’s support for a mutual return to compliance with the Iran nuclear deal.

Speaking at a joint conference during Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah’s visit to the US, Blinken said they discussed Iran, and that the JCPOA is the “most effective way to ensure that Iran cannot develop a nuclear weapon.”

“We are very grateful for Kuwait’s close coordination through venues like the GCC Iran working group where we have stood together against Iran’s destabilising actions in the region,” the secretary of state said. 

Blinken thanked Kuwait for helping to “significantly reduce the threat that Daesh poses to international security even as we remain very vigilant about the ongoing threat.”

He also said that the Gulf country stood by the US during the evacuation of Afghanistan in August 2021 as people fled Taliban rule.Kuwait helped the US evacuate thousands of people from Afghanistan including US citizens, foreign nationals and Afghans, Blinken said.

“Because of Kuwait’s help, thousands of people reached safety and Afghan families have been able to start new lives around the world.“This was a signal of Kuwait’s generosity and its commitment to humanitarianism and international stability.”

“We see that in the leadership role that Kuwait plays in institutions like the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Arab League,” he added. 

Sheikh Ahmad thanked US commitment to the stability and security of Kuwait and the region.

 “The US and Kuwait are solid partners, great friends and we appreciate this historically strong partnership, the minister said. 

“We are partners in combating terrorism after 9/11 and we were partners as well in the liberation of Iraq, he said. He added that Kuwait also provided safe transitory corridors for people feeling Taliban rule in the country.


Yemeni army pushes into Marib province as Houthis retreat

Yemeni army pushes into Marib province as Houthis retreat
Updated 26 January 2022

Yemeni army pushes into Marib province as Houthis retreat

Yemeni army pushes into Marib province as Houthis retreat
  • “We are now pushing deeper into Juba and Abedia districts,” a military official said
  • This week, government forces seized control of most of Hareb district, inflicting major military blow to the Houthis

AL-MUKALLA: Dozens of Houthis were killed on Wednesday in the central province of Marib as government troops rolled into a new area in Abedia district for the first time in months, adding to the latest military gains in the province, a local military official told Arab News from Marib.

A day after seizing control of strategic mountainous locations in neighboring Hareb, Yemen’s army and the Giants Brigades seized control of Al-Jafara in the district of Abedia, south of Marib, and besieged Um Resh military base in Juba district, also south of Marib, after heavy fighting with the Houthis who are coming under attack from government troops and intense airstrikes from the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen.

“We are now pushing deeper into Juba and Abedia districts,” the military official who spoke on condition of anonymity said.

Local media reports said that warplanes from the Coalition intensified airstrikes on Houthi targets in Abedia district, apparently to prepare the ground for government troops to advance into the strategic district.

This week, government forces seized control of most of the district of Hareb, including the town of Hareb, inflicting a major military blow to the Houthis who have suffered heavy defeats in Marib since the start of the year.

Military officials say that seizing control of Abedia and Juba would effectively mean protecting the central city of Marib from Houthi attacks from the south and it would also allow government troops to advance into the neighboring Al-Bayda province.

Last year, the Houthis besieged thousands of people in Abedia district and heavily shelled residential areas with missiles, mortar fire and explosive-rigged drones to force local army units and tribal fighters to surrender.

The Houthi siege had pushed thousands of people to the verge of mass famine and sparked local and international condemnation.

The coalition’s deployment of hundreds of fighters from the Giants Brigades from the country’s west coast to the central province of Marib late last year helped government troops to reverse Houthi military gains south of Marib and in Shabwa province.

On Wednesday, the Coalition said it killed more than 160 Houthis in 31 airstrikes in Marib, Al-Bayda and Taiz.

The Coalition’s announcement about the latest Houthi casualties came less than a day after its warplanes carried out intensive airstrikes against military targets in Houthi-controlled Sanaa, sparking thunderous explosions.

Residents reported seeing flames of fire and smoke billowing from military bases north, west and east of Sanaa on Tuesday night.

Videos circulated on social media showed missiles fired by the coalition’s warplanes exploding inside mountain military bases.

The Coalition has accused the Houthis of storing and assembling ballistic missiles and explosive-rigged drones that targeted Saudi Arabia inside military bases in Sanaa.


Egyptian president to discuss regional peace on official visit to Abu Dhabi

Egyptian president to discuss regional peace on official visit to Abu Dhabi
Updated 7 min 6 sec ago

Egyptian president to discuss regional peace on official visit to Abu Dhabi

Egyptian president to discuss regional peace on official visit to Abu Dhabi
  • El-Sisi reiterated Egypt’s condemnation of the Houthis militant attacks against the UAE

DUBAI: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi arrived Wednesday on a state visit to Abu Dhabi  where he was welcomed by United Arab Emirates Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed.

The Egyptian president later attended a meeting Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed, UAE Vice President Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid and Bahrain King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. 

Upon arrival, the Egyptian presidency said the president’s visit aims to bolster ties between the UAE and Egypt.

It also said that El-Sisi reiterated Egypt’s condemnation of the Houthis militant attacks against the UAE.

El-Sisi intended to “(consult) and (coordinate) on the latest regional developments, in light of what the current stage requires of concerted efforts to protect Arab national security and to counter attempts to destabilize the security and stability of Arab countries,” a statement from Egypt’s presidency read.


UAE records marks 2,369 new coronavirus cases over past 24 hours

UAE records marks 2,369 new coronavirus cases over past 24 hours
Updated 26 January 2022

UAE records marks 2,369 new coronavirus cases over past 24 hours

UAE records marks 2,369 new coronavirus cases over past 24 hours

DUBAI: The UAE health ministry announced Wednesday 2,369 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, marking a reduction in daily infection rates. 

The new figures bring the total number of recorded cases in the UAE to 833,201.

The ministry briefing also announced four deaths due to COVID-19 complications, bringing the total number of deaths in the country to 2,228.
An additional 1,201 individuals had fully recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries to 771,624.


UAE drone ban violators face massive fine 

UAE drone ban violators face massive fine 
Updated 26 January 2022

UAE drone ban violators face massive fine 

UAE drone ban violators face massive fine 
  • Violators will also face jail terms of six months to five years in addition to the fine

DUBAI: The UAE will issue fines of no less than $27,225 to those who violate the recently introduced ban on flying drones in the country. 

According to the country’s public prosecution, violators will also face jail terms of six months to five years in addition to the fine. 

The UAE Public Prosecution made the announcement on Twitter. 

The country’s Ministry of Interior (MoI) had previously announced on Saturday through its official Twitter account that it has stopped “all flying operations for owners and enthusiasts of drones.”

The decision, which was made in coordination with the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), aims to ensure the safety of both people and properties from “bad practices.” 

“The decision came after the misuse spotted recently, not limiting the practice of these sports to the areas identified in the user permits and trespassing into areas where these types of activities are prohibited,” wrote the ministry in its announcement. 

The statement added that those requiring the use of drones or other flying objects for work, commercial, filming or advertising purposes must obtain a permit in order to carry out their work.